Blatter hints at banning Tottenham's Bale
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed Gareth Bale could be banned from playing for Tottenham for the duration of the Olympic Games.
The ban will only occur if the Football Association decide to lodge a complaint following his surprise appearance for Spurs in a pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy on Tuesday after the Wales international was not selected for Team GB due to a back injury.
Bale featured for 74 minutes of the 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Centre and opened the scoring for Andre Villas-Boas' side when he converted a cross from new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson on 17 minutes.
The Olympic football competition kicks off on Thursday, and the 23-year-old winger is facing the prospect of sitting on the sidelines for his club until August 12 if he is reported to FIFA by the FA.
Blatter said: "The principle is that if a club does not release a player, then an association can come to FIFA and we will then ban this player during the Olympics.
"So far, nobody has come to FIFA [to complain about Bale] - but it is a possibility that we could ban these players if they are not at the disposal of the national team.
"They [a football association] complain and then we say: 'Let this player go or he cannot play for the club.' FIFA's position has never been so clear as it is now for the Olympics 2012 and 2016."
However, the north London outfit could make a case that Bale only regained his fitness this week in their defence of his absence from Stuart Pearce's Olympic squad.
Villas-Boas admitted to gambling with the player's fitness as the Portuguese tactician looks to get him up to speed for the start of the new season.
"Gareth is young and physically a beast, so he was able to put in the effort," the Tottenham manager said. "We extended that as we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season.
"You can say we took a risk. If you recall, 10 minutes into the game he was stretching himself so he was feeling some muscle tightness. But it was controllable and we just let him run. We welcome his recovery, which is the most important thing for me."